Monday, 12 August 2013

School Review Meeting

When I undertook training on inclusive education over 8 years ago, school review meeting were often viewed as horror stories for parents, where they were told about decisions rather than been involved in making them. 

Since then, things should have improved and a review of the legislation and code of practice for supporting children’s learning sets a very positive expectation.  Getting it right for every child (GIFREC) focuses on creating a common approach across all agencies aiming to deliver appropriate, proportionate and timely help as it is needed.  It also looks to take a holistic view involving the young person / family fully both in the assessment and the solution.  Enquire  have excellent resources, both online and by phone, to help with review meeting and all aspects of additional support needs in education.

To my understanding the focus of these meetings is everyone working together to deliver the right support at the right time.  Unfortunately, looking through other blogs, discussion with other parents and even my own experiences, things can still go wrong.    I thought it worthwhile to reflect on what makes a review meeting work for me, and what supports me when things don’t go to plan

I’ll be honest and say that I’m quite proactive and assertive in review meetings.   I will usually have a list of items that I need covered and will have touched base with the therapists prior to the meeting to ensure that their actions and input is being submitted if they cannot attend.   I appreciate this is not for everyone but I do think having key issues written down beforehand helps keep me focused and at times less emotional.

Having someone on your side in a meeting is really important I believe.  For me, I know there are a couple of key therapists and the ed psych who understand what the overall outcome we want for E and will work to help achieve that.  They can be very helpful in communicating an idea or action in a more technical way than perhaps I can.  They also act as an extra pair of ears.  Your supporter does not have to be someone within the team, you do have the right to bring an advocate with you. 

I strongly believe that a review meeting should contain no surprises.  It’s difficult for anyone to come up with ideas, agreements or solutions if they are not aware of a problem beforehand.    Obviously the key to this is communication and this does take time to build up from everyone’s perspective.

As E moves up through school, and especially into high school, the people and level of involvement of the people at these meeting will change.  I would be really interested to hear your experience of review meetings, positive or otherwise, to help maintain and further improve the effectiveness of such meetings.

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